A $4billion industry as UK film grows internationally

Stephen Chapman's picture
by Stephen Chapman

British films took $4.1bn at the box office last year, an 11% share of the world market.

The BFI’s Statistical Yearbook also showed that the UK box office was bringing in more than £1bn for the third year in succession.

“Today’s figures reveal that the UK film industry continues to be not only one of the world’s greatest providers of cinematic entertainment, but also a massive driver of economic growth. With film production spend up almost 30%, and box office takings of more than £1 billion for the third consecutive year, the industry is thriving and we will continue to support this dynamic sector,” stated Culture Minister Ed Vaizey.

The UK film industry turned over £7.3bn, with exports of £1.3bn and a surplus of £789m. In total £1bn was spent on home-grown productions and new films shooting in the UK.

81% of this production spend came through 37 inward investment films, such as Far From the Madding Crowd, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Man from U.N.C.L.E and Monuments Men, which contributed £860m.

“It is a very vibrant and buoyant picture for UK film. The Government’s solid commitment to the screen industries combined with our fantastic talent, skills and infrastructure is keeping the UK at the top of its game. Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon currently docked at Pinewood is just one tantalising indication of just how much we remain the destination of choice for international filmmaking,” added Amanda Nevill, chief executive of the BFI.

“The opportunities for growth in film, high-end television, animation and games are so exciting we need to keep our foot hard down on the accelerator.”

Films backed by a UK studio generated 8.9% of the worldwide box office, with earnings of $3.4bn, while independent films contributed over $649m of global revenues. Fast & Furious 6, which was made in the UK, was the top grossing UK film worldwide, with earnings of $788m.

Looking at the box office, Les Miserables was the biggest US/UK film release of the year, grossing £40m and becoming one of the most successful British films since 1989 . Philomena, Rush and Quartet were the leading independent UK films.

Outside of the cinema, physical video sales fell to 119m units last year, with rentals dipping to 53m. Their combined worth was £1.1bn. Video on Demand is still catching up, although it grew 37% on the previous year, with an estimated worth of £323m. Apple was the highest earning VoD provider, with Netflix the fastest growing provider.

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